If you’re an olive oil fan, be prepared. This year has been described as “The Black Year of Italian Olive Oil,”: in Italy, the weather was truly horrible (I spent the summer there, and can testify); on top of that, there was a rare and extreme infestation of a fruit fly known as the “olive tree leprosy”.
The result is that the olive harvest in Italy is down 35 percent from last year, which means that we should expect to pay much more than usual for Italian olive oil, and to see even more olive oil fraud than last year — cheaper oils imported from abroad being sold as Italian, lower grades labeled extra-virgin, and worse, cut with vegetable oils that have nothing to do with olives.
What’s an olive-oil lover to do? (a good idea, of course, would be trying oils from Greece and those countries unaffected by the issue). If you believe in miracles, you can also pray that your stack will last eight times as long as it normally would, much like in the story of Hanukkah.
An eternal optimist, I still published a whole feature on olive oil, complete with recipes, cooking tips, and ideas for olive oil parings and tasting parties, in the current issue of Joy of Kosher magazine. In the meantime, I wish Italy a gorgeous, gigantic, perfect olive harvest next year!